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Year 2002, 2
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Umělec magazine 2002/2


Michaela Sečanská | galery | en cs

"With the opening of the exhibition Upside Down on 4 June 2002, Bratislava’s Gallery Priestor for Contemporary Arts celebrated their fourth birthday.
This anniversary exhibition presented both Slovak and foreign artists, with most of the artists making video art and the rest putting up installations or making color digital prints. Artists from abroad included the Polish cult favorite Zbigniew Libera; Hajnal Németh, who showed two imaginative video projects; the couple Vladimir Nikolić and Věra Večanski with their video How to Become a Great Artist in which a successful male artist gives a young inexperienced female artist advice on how to enter the artistic elite; and finally Krassimir Terziev, whose displayed digital color print On the BG Track comprising fragments from various films referencing his homeland of Bulgaria. The exhibiting Slovak artists — Aneta Mona Chişa, Marek Kvetán, Marko Blažo, Gabika Binderová, and Dušan Zahoranský — belong to the most well-known representatives of the young generation. All of these artists have had solo exhibitions in Galéria Priestor.
While still in school, the curator and founder of the Gallery Priestor, Juraj Čarný (1974), actively participated in many exhibitions as a curator or coordinator (BillboArt, 1995; Sculpture in the Gallery, 1996; Time of the City — Dušan Zahoranský, 1996; Installation — Marek Kvetán and Patrik Križovenský, 1997; Readme, 1998). After graduation he contemplated opening a gallery for the presentation of contemporary art, as one did not exist at that time in Bratislava, and in 1998, after finishing his graduation project at the Comenius University in Bratislava, Čarný caught wind of an interesting space that would be suitable for a gallery: a former anti-aircraft shelter in the residence of an advertising agency. The idea of a gallery intended only for alternative and experimental projects in contemporary art appealed to Martin Knut, creative director of the agency, who also extended financial support for its start up.
The first exhibition took place on 26 May, 1999 under the title Space for Recapitulation. It presented Slovak artists, from the oldest to the youngest generations: A. Mlynárčik, S. Filko, R. Fila, R. Sikora, D. Tóth, V. Kordoš, O. Laubert, D. Fischer, P. Rónai, K. Pichler, R. Galovský, I. Németh, R. Ondák, D. Lányi, D. Sadovská, D. Zahoranský, M. Kvetán, M. Blažo, P. AGAT Huba.
At the same time, this was also a pilot exhibition for an extensive art project called The Beginning of the End — The End of the Beginning, 1999–2000. For this project the Czech art group Pode Bal put on their controversial Malík Urvi exhibition, which had stirred up hostility in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This version for Gallery Priestor was an ensemble of photographs of the Slovak president Rudolf Schuster together with the former chief of the StB, the Czechoslovak Secret Police under communism, Alojz Lorenc. Another topical Slovak presentation was Peter Kalmus’s project Mail-Art (i)llustration, in which he matched head to head four presidents that in the past belonged to the Slovak political scene: president of the independent Slovak fascist regime during WWII, Dr. Tisa; last Czecho-slovak communist president, Dr. Husák; first Slovak president, Ing. Kováč; and then current Slovak president, Ing. Schuster. Other foreign artists participating in The Beginning of the End — The End of the Beginning included Zuzanna Janin and Jenny Schmidt. Juraj Čarný chose Slovak artists from his own generation: M. Kvetán, C. and M. Blažo, D. Sadovská, P. AGAT Huba, A. M. Chişa, P. Križovenský, D. Zahoranský, D. Lányi, J. Mančuška. The work of older artists included that of Peter Rónai, and the work of the Slovak artist Igor Kalný, who died prematurely in 1987. The exhibition contained his action and conceptual drawings, rubber stamp graphics and action art photo-documentation that he arranged himself. Čarný also succeeded in attaining work that had never been exhibited before. In the course of the exhibition, discussion took place on themes concerning the works of Igor Kalný.
Juraj Čarný also put on an
international symposium and series of lectures called Videoart+ in which many well-known international and Slovak theoreticians, and artists devoted to issues in video art participated (Don Ritter, Keiko Sei, Marek Wasiliewski, Miklós Peternák, Michael Bielický).
The second exhibition project, Experimentálne Laboratorium (2001– 2002), is currently showing in the gallery. Here Kateřina Vincourová presented her installation Hobby-raum, which is comprised of an inflatable vivarium for animals. A group exhibition Sound in Art shows the many ways in which sound can be used in contemporary art. Curated by Nataša Petrešin, the exhibition includes works by M. Behrens, Monogramista T.D., M. Peljhan, S. Philipsz, M. Potrč, C. Randl, E. Saebjornsson, Scanner + Tonne.
Although the focal point lies first and foremost in exhibiting artists from Čarný’s generation, there are concepts of the exhibition space also within the work of artists from the older generation (M. Kern, M. Paštéka, O. Laubert). On the other hand young artist Milan Mikula, who previously worked in graphic and stage design as well as projects for public space, is presenting a compelling installation, Prostor (Space). In the gallery he built giant moveable walls, giving visitors the opportunity to manipulate the gallery space, while considering issues of freedom and the limits of movement.
To run the gallery, Čarný has
received contributions from sponsors and grants from the Ministry of Culture and the foundation NPOA. However, in 2002 no state grants were awarded to Gallery Priestor. Furthermore the city of Bratislava refuses to support non-commercial galleries. This ignorance on the part of the city and state is especially outrageous considering the number of quality projects in support of Slovak culture that Gallery Priestor has arranged. Juraj Čarný has even presented Slovak art twice at art fairs organized by the Hubert Winter gallery in Vienna and in Innsbruck.
Furthermore Gallery Priestor will participate at this year’s Art Forum Berlin, the contemporary art fair, for the first time.
In the second half of 2002 and throughout 2003, in connection with Experimentálne Laboratorium, Gallery Priestor is planning to establish systematic cooperation with galleries from abroad and to put on international exhibitions. In October the gallery will cooperate with Gallery Ellen de Bruijne Projects to present an exhibition by the Dutch video artist Maria Pask, curated by Radek Váňa. In 2003 the gallery also plans to include cooperation on common projects with Gallery Raster from Warsaw (Zbigniew Libera), Display Gallery from Prague (Jan Kadlec), Gallery Trafó from Budapest (Balázs Beothy), Gallery Škuc from Ljubljana, and Gallery Mezzanin from Vienna.
Other projects in the works include an exhibition, a workshop and a series of lectures titled Art Without Frontiers, which will focus on the theme of reconstructing identity among nationalism and globalization. The curator of the exhibition will be Nino Danelia, who will present the works of contemporary Georgian artists. Gallery Priestor is also a co-partner in the preparation of The Last East European Show, which will begin in April 2003 in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade and include A. M. Chişa, M. Kvetán, and D. Zahoranský.

Gallery Priestor
Somolického 1/B
811 05 Bratislava
tel. (+421) 905 231187



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